The tiny City of Orchha was a nice and colorful place to hang out for a few days on my way back om Khajurao. And the city of Gwalior, which lies on the railway to Delhi also proved a worthwhile stop for a day or so. As always I found it more interesting to travel through India in stages by day train, visualizing the trip and the landscape then flying, going by night bus or night train.

Orchha.

A town of about 8000 inhabitants surrounded by countryside. The main attraction is the huge palace-fort that is on a walled seasonal island in the Betwa River. The fort consists of several connected buildings. The most noteworthy being Raj Mahal, witch has some nice murals, and Jehangir Mahal that is mainly interesting for its architecture. There are more temples, like the high rising Chaturbhuj Temple and the fort like Laxminarayan Temple. The life in the town however revolves around the Ram Raja Temple, a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site. It receives between 1500 to 3000 visitors daily. Leading to the temple square is a gate and surrounding it are colorful markets. All in all a lively town.

Gwalior .

The imposing fort can be seen almost from every part of town. It is basically a walled hill of about three square kilometers. The ruler Man Sing constructed one of the highlights, Man Mandir Palace with its blue mosaic tiles. Most of the other palaces near this palace are merely ruins. If you walk further there are some nice small temples and another highlight, the Gurdwara Data Bandi Chor Sahib, a Sikh temple. An elegant white building that reflects nicely in the ritual bathing tank. As all Sikh temples there is an atmosphere of tranquility, even when busy. And you should try the food, as all Sikh temples offer a free meal. Hospitality and feeding pilgrims, tourists, beggars, street children and holy men is the tradition. On Sundays the whole of Gwalior is invited. Lines form from eight in the morning until nine in the evening, although hundreds of people can be accommodated.

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